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Holy Ghost! at The Hudson Project 2014

By Will Oliver, July 15th 2014 — with 1 comment

1_Holy Ghost

I ended my only day at Hudson Project with a late night set from Holy Ghost!. The set kicked off close to 1 a.m., a true late night dance party.

The last time I saw the DFA protegees was in 2010, when they opened for LCD Soundsystem at Terminal 5. That was their third time ever. They’ve come quite a way since then. With LCD long gone now, they seem to be working their way up to take their place. Not replace them, of course, but rather fill in the missing gap in all of our hearts.

The group sounded on point, coming hard out of the gate with a lot of bite. They had everyone in the tent dancing along, digging deep for that second wind. This version of Holy Ghost is much more cool and confident than the one I saw four years ago. Give them a few more years, and I think that they can deliver some of their biggest and best work yet.
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The Flaming Lips at The Hudson Project 2014

By Will Oliver, July 14th 2014

1_The Flaming Lips

If there’s one thing that you can predict about The Flaming Lips live show, is that you really can’t predict what will happen. Sure, you do expect some crazy outfits and maybe Wayne to come out in his hamster ball at some point, but there’s always an element of surprise at play at their shows. This is something that you really can’t say about most bands that you go out to see.

Right away the wacky tactics of the band ensued, with a girl placed in a fake hill that was attached below Wayne’s mic. Following her were more girls dressed as rainbows, mushrooms, you name it. These aspects enhanced the opening punches of “She Don’t Use Jelly” and “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1” which were performed as seemingly never-ending amounts of confetti were sent soaring over the crowd – which featured audience members who were also dressed up in various sets of costumes and face paint. Clearly, The Lips are on the same page as their fans.

While The Lips are known for their alien and fantasy elements, they showed a great deal of humanity towards the end of the show after a fan passed out in the front of the crowd. Wayne Coyne took notice of the fan, and stopped the show, making the rest of the audience aware of the cause of the interruption. He kindly asked the crowd to stay calm and patient, not willing to play over the fan who was clearly not well. The band waited patiently on stage for nearly 20-minutes until the fan was was better, and then they finished off their set with a rather meaningful performance of “A Spoonful Weighs a Ton.”

Most bands would have probably ignored the fan, or taken the delay as a chance to cut things off early to head backstage. What Wayne Coyne and the band did was a classy move in my eyes that showed that they are more than just a band. The patience and genuine concern that was on display was truly a thing of beauty.

Most of the stuff that you have been reading in the media about Coyne of late hasn’t been totally positive, so I hope more people hear about how he handled this situation, because it’s certainly worth noting much more than what tattoo he’s getting.
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Modest Mouse at The Hudson Project 2014

By Will Oliver, July 14th 2014

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It’s been forever since Modest Mouse’s last proper studio album (try since 2007’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank), but the band has stayed busy during this extended break in-between albums by staying on tour. Even without any new material to tour around, the band just does fine (as I saw at Governors Ball 2012). With a heavy back catalogue of material, there’s always a solid variation of songs that the band can play on any given night.

Frontman Isaac Brock is always a force to reckon with on stage, full of intensity and energy that just jumps out at you. This applies even when he’s rocking his banjo – there’s a fierceness about him in his vocal delivery that is impossible to shake. Believe it or not, the band’s commercial breakthrough Good News For People Who Love Bad News came out 10 years ago. With that in mind, it wasn’t a surprise that most of the night’s set came off that album. No “Float On”, but rather more sublime offerings such as “Ocean Breathes Salty.” There was a palpable tension in the air as the band ripped through a thunderous performance of “Tiny Cities Mades Of Ashes”, which is my favorite song of theirs. The band had the crowd up in arms, ready to explode as the song built towards its eventual release. By the time they ripped through “Dashboard”, the place was nearly ready to explode.

One can only hope that we get a new album sooner rather than later, but as long as they keep giving us live shows as great as this in the meantime, who can complain? Read the rest of this entry »

Small Black at The Hudson Project 2014

By Will Oliver, July 14th 2014

1_Small Black

As far as first year festivals go, The Hudson Project had some shortcomings. Not to knock on them, this sort of thing can be expected during the first year, and sometimes even at the more veteran fests. They clearly undersold tickets to test out the audience size, and that’s totally understandable. What they didn’t account for is the unbalance that this would have when you book larger acts against smaller bands. So while Atmosphere drew large amounts of people to the main stage, Small Black were doing their thing at a tent stage. Even though it was under a tent, the entire area was filled with unflattering mud – not the most welcoming thing to see. Unfortunately all of these factors added up to a disappointing crowd for Small Black, who deserved much better.

You can tell a lot about a person based on how they handle situations of adversity. This can also be applied towards bands who play in situations that are less than ideal. Many bands may have opted not to play or would have put on a half-assed show just to get it over it. But Small Black put on the same sort of quality show that they did when they played a packed out Bowery Ballroom earlier in the year. They still gave great care and showed the same level of energy and emotion. I already was a fan of the band, but the handling of this situation made me an even bigger fan of them.

Well done, Small Black.
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Atmosphere at The Hudson Project 2014

By Will Oliver, July 14th 2014

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Earlier in the year Minneapolis hip-hop group Atmosphere released their new album Southsiders. They brought its songs, as well as their older ones upstate to The Hudson Project for a lively set that got everyone in the crowd involved. It always helps enhance a hip-hop set when there’s a real sense of energy put towards the show. Thankfully there was plenty of that to be found in their set.

I last caught Atmosphere during Bonnaroo 2011 and remember how much of a showman that frontman and rapper Slug was. He has a natural ability to connect with an audience. He doesn’t act above us, but rather as one of us. This level of communication and mutual understanding respect is so hard to find in a festival made up of “stars”, so it’s a refreshing thing for sure. Read the rest of this entry »

Dr. Dog at The Hudson Project 2014

By Will Oliver, July 14th 2014

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This weekend saw the inaugural year of The Hudson Project kick off in Saugerties, New York. It’s about a hour and a half drive from my home in Rockland County, so probably a little over two hours for those of you in the city. I only managed to make it up to day 1, and based on the rain and issues yesterday, this seemed like a good decision.

My day started with a rock solid performance from Philadelphia’s finest, Dr. Dog. Believe it or not, it was my first time catching the band since I saw them open up for The Raconteurs back in September of 2006, which seems like a lifetime ago now. I don’t know how I let it go that long, but I finally made up for it at the festival.

It was like seeing the band for the first time. They’ve come a long way since then. Gone was the wacky rowdier ramshackle version of Dr. Dog that my fading memory recollects. In their place was a tighter, more polished band who are suddenly veterans on the scene. This is a band who deliver mature harmonies and songs that were perfect for a sunny afternoon at a music festival. Singer/guitarist Scott McMicken wasn’t sure what year of the festival it was (until the crowd told him it was the first), but he hoped that they would someday be invited back.

The fate of The Hudson Project may be up in the air, but the future of Dr. Dog is as solidified and steady as they come. I can’t wait to see them again soon and sure hope it doesn’t take another eight years.
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The Hudson Project is a new music festival in its very first year. It will take place on Winston Farm in Saugerties, New York from July 11-13. The upstate festival has a rock solid lineup in its inaugural year, booking Kendrick Lamar, Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips, and Bassnectar as their headliners. The rest of the lineup features artists such as Atmosphere, Matt & Kim, Flying Lotus, Bonobo, STRFKR, Dr. Dog, Four Tet, Holy Ghost!, Twin Shadow, Action Bronson, Cults, Araabmuzik, Flatbush Zombies, !!!, Yacht, Robert Delong, Majical Cloudz, SZA, Bad Rabbits, Small Black, Widowspeak, The Range, Chrome Sparks and many more.

The festival is about a two hour drive from the city, and about an hour train ride, making it a great location for music fans either in New York City or upstate. Tickets are still available for the festival right now, and you can get your own right here.

Find the full lineup posted below:
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YACHT at Bowery Ballroom (January 16, 2018)

By Collin Quinlivan, February 12th 2018

As I sat at the bar waiting for doors, I had a conversation with a girl sitting next to me. It was her first time seeing YACHT live, and she was very excited. I explained that she was in for a quite a show and would not be disappointed. We were not.

I first caught wind of YACHT in 2011 after hearing “Dystopia (The Earth Is on Fire),” from their second studio album Shangri-La, shared right here on this blog. Their history dates back far before then–starting as founder Jona Bechtolt’s solo project and picking up frontwoman Claire Evans in 2008. The last time I saw them live was in 2014 at the (in)famous Hudson Project Festival, which the band joked with me about.
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Modest Mouse at Webster Hall (March 19, 2015)

By Will Oliver, March 20th 2015 — with 1 comment

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It takes a band like Modest Mouse to make a venue like Webster Hall feel tiny. It’s no small venue by any means, but when a group like Isaac Brock’s indie-rock mainstay come to play, it makes the venue seem way too small for a band of their size, because it really is.

Last night’s sold out show (the second of two consecutive nights) came in celebration of the release of Strangers To Ourselves, their first album in eight years. Even during such the long period of time in between records, the band would tour semi-regularly, mostly odd dates and select festival performances. Which were the only way I’ve seen Modest Mouse live prior to last night’s showing. Those dates were Governors Ball 2012 and last summer’s inaugural Hudson Project. They delivered memorable performances at those festivals, but seeing them at their own club show was a different beast entirely.
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Favorite Live Photos of 2014

By Will Oliver, February 5th 2015

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(Foals at Terminal 5)

There was no shortage of great shows to be found in 2014. You can find the best 50 that I saw in 2014 right here. Throughout the year, we took thousands upon thousands of photos, documenting every moment of these unforgettable shows. We put in a lot of work trying to capture the essence of these performances, and I wanted to share these photos with you in one giant collection.

These are not only photos that I took, but also photos taken by our great team of contributing photographers. They’re posted in chronological order, as there was simply no other right way to go about ordering the photos. Below each photo, is the link to the original post, as well as the photographer credit (if it’s other than myself).

So with that said, sit back, and enjoy our favorite live concert photos that we took in 2014. You can also find the gallery posted over at our facebook page. There’s probably one too many photos posted here, but we probably saw way too many shows.
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